“Necessity is the mother of invention.”
For sure, we are swimming in unchartered waters at this moment in time. We wait patiently (maybe anxiously) for the tide to turn and allow us to resume “normal” activities. But will the pressures of this moment leave lasting imprints on our lives? The quote above, taken from The Republic by Plato, comes to mind when I consider one potential impact that the COVID-19 pandemic may have on our lives. First and foremost, it is the intent of the Greensboro Bar Association to continue to support our members through this challenging time while keeping the safety of all at the forefront of every decision we make. For this reason, we have not only postponed or cancelled a number of events scheduled for mid-March and April, but also have pivoted to video meetings and online events where possible. Of note, our GBA Board meeting scheduled for April 8 will be, for the first time, attended remotely via Zoom. And our annual Legal Aid Fundraiser became an online raffle and donation. Thank you to our sponsors, many of whom have agreed to maintain their pledge to the Legal Aid Fundraiser despite cancellation of the in-person event.
Let me offer some encouragement at this time of uncertainty.
I’m wondering, are these pandemic changes to our routine merely short-term adjustments or will we learn that there are better ways to do the things that we have been doing for years and, therefore, implement new processes or plans? One local businessperson said it this way, “we are seeing that instead of sending an employee on a two-day trip to California for one in-person meeting, that same employee can have three video conferences a day, and meet with six clients in the same two-day period.” Many of you have already participated in CLE by webinar, but now we are seeing a conscious move toward conference, mediation, deposition and even minor settlement hearings by video from your desk. I believe we are just scratching the surface. As we sit around our homes learning that we can actually get things done from a distance, I’m curious what new tools will we develop to be better at or more efficient with practicing law? And will this “downtime” force us to see our practice or our lives in new ways?
Let me offer some encouragement at this time of uncertainty. I’d like to tell you this will all work out okay. But no one has a crystal ball to make such a prediction. What we do have is the ability to examine the truths that we are aware of and then proceed in the direction that is best for us individually. So how do we proceed? Author Parker Palmer, in his work Let Your Life Speak, teaches that the evolution of finding one’s true calling has more to do with listening to what your life is trying to tell you about the truths you embody and the values you represent than telling your life the noble values that you have discovered in others and intend to live up to.
Perhaps examining one’s life may not be on your pandemic survival checklist. That is okay. However, is this the time to implement that change you have relegated to the backburner? It is not unusual to find that in the routine hustle and bustle of our busy practices and lives that the idea of planning something new, developing a new practice area, or learning a new life skill (like dancing or meditation, or joining a book club, etc.) must compete with the built-out life that we already have in place. But right now something else is happening. Court hearings are cancelled, appointments have been minimized, travel is discouraged, restaurants and gyms are closed and non-essential social gatherings are banned. As a result, some of us have found time to reflect. If this applies to you, make use of this opportunity, listen, and during this break in your routine, let your life speak to you!